Experiences of Coding Skills for Young Learners & Youth in Uganda

Authors : Barbra Apolot

Volume/Issue : Volume 8 - 2023, Issue 7 - July

Google Scholar : https://bit.ly/3TmGbDi

Scribd : https://tinyurl.com/3rrstpzv

DOI : https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.8181461

Purpose: This paper aims at interesting introduction of coding concepts to young learners and youth by any knowledgeable stakeholder. The study shares experiences after replicating the Rangers coding game developed by Tangible Africa as a way of introducing coding skills to young learners without use of the Internet, Computers nor Electricity using cost-effective instruments which are as simple as a game. Methodology: This study was based on Observations, interviews, focus group discussions with a total of 79 participants. These included 37 Children, 6 Teachers, 2 parents, 9 Librarians, 2 ICT professionals and 23 undergraduate students. The study aimed at capturing the experiences of participants prior, during and after training sessions on basic coding by nonprofessional programmers. This skilling project targeted the building of team work spirit, enhancing problem solving capabilities, critical thinking and also improvement of participant’s employability, knowledge, skill and enhancement of career path.Findings: The researcher discovered that no child (below 18 years of age) had ever heard the word “coding” or imagined its scope.wondered how coding could be taught without electricity, internet or computers. The study also revealed that, in terms of learning abilities-both children and youth learn better in groups thus, it is always better to work as a team to be able to exchange ideas Age group-Children of all ages are attracted to colors and shapes and thus, use of colors and illustrations stimulate reasoning. Articulation skills- Children at the age of 10 and above articulate and interpret instructions better and faster for early and intermediate levels. As levels get to advanced level, the challenge is common to all ages. Interest in Coding- Children younger than 10 years of age simply enjoy the game. Between ages 10-12 years, understand concepts and talented ones can be groomed. From age of 13-18, they understand concepts and focus on the future. For the youth above 18 years, these adults relate with environment and embrace the challenges in society and wish to be part of the solution for the future. In a way, they easily acknowledge innovations and see benefits to real life. Limitations and recommendations- The coding mobile app does not auto correct. The Rangers coding puzzles being used were not multi colored and visualized. The cards are made of paper and these were vulnerable to deterioration. Improving them to metallic format would improve their durability. Lastly, the participants were confused by the mix of two concepts namely “Poaching and Coding”. Separating concepts is better to enable concentration of the main Cause. Value: Introducing learners to coding skills at tender age familiarizes children to coding concepts thus, skilling them for self-employment. It also eases accomplishment of tougher coding tasks as they progress with their academic career. A part from that, it helps them in making career choices, stimulates team work, problem solving and intellectual thinking.

Keywords : Coding, Tangible Africa, Young Learners.


Paper Submission Last Date
30 - November - 2023

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